Having just taken New York City’s CMJ festival by storm, singer-songwriter Garrett Borns (aka BØRNS) practically came out of nowhere with the release of his buzzworthy debut single, the glimmery infectious “10,000 Emerald Pools” and the release of his EP Candy, all of which was written in his treehouse home in Los Angeles. Leading off with “Electric Love”, the album mixes indie/synth pop with sugary sweet melodies blanketed in sunny West Coast ambience.
The Charlie Rogers Band
With a name like The Charlie Rogers Band, it sounds like these folks have been in the game for as long as The Charlie Daniels Band. But their style of country is more effervescent than a freshly popped bottle of Lone Star beer. By blending the rootsy accouterments of traditional country with a studied pop songwriting style, Rogers and company have created a balance that simultaneously sounds both classic and fresh. If you’ve ever watched the television series Nashville, it’s easy to wonder why this band has yet to appear on an episode. Read More →
What’s most memorable about your favorite music of 2014? Jog your memory by diving into one of Pandora’s many End Of Year stations. If you like the mainstream music across pop, rock, country, Christian, dance and regional Mex – then this blog is for you.
Ever wonder what the number one songs are based on your thumbs? Here’s a review of the top songs of the year on Pandora. Let’s start with some of the highlights of 2014 Top Pop:
OneRepublic’s “Counting Stars” kicked off 2014 in the number one spot, but five-and-a-half months later Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” bumped it by a nose. She held that position for two months before two new artists that own a big piece of pop music in 2014 made their mark. Ariana Grande’s “Problem” and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” stayed at number one for three weeks. But don’t get too comfy Iggy, because here comes Sam the man! The week of July 24, the uplifting gospel-infused “Stay with Me” from Sam Smith settled in at number one…that is until October 22, when Meghan Trainor, a Nashville newcomer gave us arguably the most infectious song of the year with “All About That Bass.” But Jeremih’s “Don’t Tell Em,” which still holds the first place spot, quickly displaced that three weeks later. R&B influenced ballads ruled in 2014 with huge hits from John Legend, Sam Smith, Hozier and now George Ezra coming on strong. Sam Smith is an amazing solo story this year along with the mainstream success of “Latch” and “La La La” but the male singer-songwriter with unbelievable worldwide appeal is Ed Sheeran. Also, Sia is Wonder Woman! She writes great songs – “Diamonds,” “Titanium,” “Wild Ones” and man, what a voice! “Chandelier” and now the new Annie soundtrack? And of course, Taylor Swift said goodbye to country and Spotify, entering the pop realm with “Shake It Up.” Now it looks like “Blank Space” will be even bigger. Read More →
Sugary dance-pop vocalist Hannah Diamond is one of the first breakthrough artists to come out of the new British label and collective, PC Music, who hope to usher in a new roster of “future-pop” stars. Her debut commercial single “Every Night” has received accolades from Stereogum and Pitchfork. Her previous single “Pink and Blue” placed number five in Fact Magazine’s “100 Best Tracks Of The Decade So Far.”
Championed by Little Steven Van Zandt, The Connection is a Portsmouth, New Hampshire quintet specializing in jangly power-pop and melodic garage rock. Armed with bowl-cuts, Beatle-boots, skinny neckties, Chuck Taylors, Rickenbackers and Telecasters; these guys haven’t just done their homework – they’re living it. The band’s 2013 debut album Let It Rock was named after the Chuck Berry song (covered here). Let It Rock boasts 13 recordings that sound like a more functional version of The Real Kids filtered through an early Byrds inspired discipline. Read More →
Guest blogger and current Pandora Comedy Spotlight comedian Dan Cummins muses on the holidays…
Christmas stresses me the hell out. Let’s start there.
I feel like every year I end up rushing around at the last minute to buy gifts, terrified that I’ll spend way too much money on a bunch of poorly thought-out doodads everyone will just hate anyway.
I worry that my two kids Kyler and Monroe will LOVE the presents they get from their mom (my ex-wife), and that my gifts will quickly fall into the pile of undesirables which will be almost immediately placed in the bottom of a closet where they will remain until given to Goodwill in untouched, mint condition. Ugh.
I worry that my fiancé will get me a WAY better gift than I’ll get her, and I’ll be so riddled with shame and guilt that I’ll barely be able to enjoy my third helping of mashed potatoes and gravy. And I really worry that there won’t be enough mashed potatoes and gravy for me to have a third helping.
Anyways… Read More →
This last Tuesday, Pandora sent out the push notification: “Our music curators think you’ll love Hipster Holidays Radio this holiday season. Try it today!” If you’ve ever seeded or thumbed-up anything deemed cool, indie or “hip” – you received that notification. It’s really that simple.
Pandora is headquartered in a hip part of Oakland, California – which means each day, our employees walk streets considered by many to be a West Coast epicenter of hipsterdom. But this recent social conversation around the term “hipster” got us thinking more critically: what’s the history behind this word, anyway? Being the OCD music and pop-culture geeks that we are, the subject was researched! And, wouldn’t you know it, the word has a deep musical tie in.
The origin of the term “hipster” has nothing to do with boutique fixed-gear bicycles. But it pedals back to 1938 when Cab Calloway jokingly wrote The Hepster Dictionary to accompany his sheet music – it was a glossary of jive terms spoken by “hepcats” (African American jazz enthusiasts). So then “hepcat” evolved into “hipster” by the 1940s. In June of 1948, Anatole Broyard wrote a piece for Partisan Review entitled “A Portrait of the Hipster.” In it, he describes hipsters as blues and jazz informed delinquents on a quest for self-definition. Read More →
This Brooklyn-based comprising duo Patrick Laird (Break Of Reality) and Marnie Laird has gained a significant following on YouTube for their piano/cello covers of popular music. Their Brooklyn Sessions debut album features reinterpretations of pop hits like “Am I Wrong” originally performed by Nico & Vinz, “Chandelier” by Sia, “Centuries” by Fall Out Boy and “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith.
Despite his silly name Mr Fijiwiji produces some serious music. His latest release on Monstercat Records is much more mature than his 19-years would have you believe. Each track is an expert exercise in Chillstep, dripping with ethereal synth goodness. If Tycho and Porter Robinson made an album together, it just might sound like Keeping It Surreal. Read More →
Pomo is the next generation of futuristic synth soul, joining the HW&W Recordings team of beatmakers: Kaytranada, Ta-Ku and Stwo. As a Canadian multi-instrumentalist and producer living in Montreal, Pomo is the one to watch for cutting edge, freaky, feel good beats. His influence as a live musician on electronic production blends the two worlds perfectly. Songs like “Cloud Cruise” sound like an outer space disco ride and “How I Feel” will put you in funk-mode on the dance floor.
Moonsville Collective is an Americana string band from Orange County. They describe their music as “California Goodtime.” Influenced by folk legends like Levon Helm (The Band), Bob Dylan and Old Crow Medicine Show, the sextet is made of multi-instrumentalists including dobro, mandolin, fiddle and kazoo, (just to name a few). Since releasing their first album Cradle To The Grave in 2013, they have picked up numerous regional music awards and have played alongside artists like Wanda Jackson, Willie Watson (Old Crow Medicine Show), Donavon Frankenreiter and The White Buffalo. Read More →
Dark pop from Stockholm, Sweden and described by MTV Buzzworthy as a “…superstar in the making, surrounded by dark, gloomy synthesizers … recalling a cross between Lorde, Robyn and The Weeknd.” XOV, the moniker of Damian Ardestani, makes his US debut with the track “Animal,” featured on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack. Lorde, who got in touch with him via a Twitter direct message, curated it. He plans to release his debut EP in early 2015 under the Sony Music label.
You don’t have to be from Chicago to remember post-rock. Back in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, a small population of Windy City indie bands simultaneously shared a love for the electric guitar distortion and delay pedal-tweaking of shoegazing – as well as the heady arrangements of prog (but they insisted on calling it math-rock instead of prog). The post-rock subgenre earned its name because these bands implemented the use of rock instrumentation (guitars, bass, drums) to create non-rocking textures and soundscapes. Many of these musicians felt that it was more important to have a durable winter jacket than a lead singer, hence the then popularity of parka-clad instrumental bands like Tortoise. X Suns aren’t from Chicago. They’re from Seattle. They specialize in putting the rock back in post-rock. In most cases, this might bring it back to just rock, save X Suns’ labyrinthine changes, gorgeously layered guitar textures and songs sans singers. They are also prone to jamming on jazzy outbursts and Hawkwind inspired space-rock freak-outs. Read More →
Smashing Satellites are a Canadian electro-rock project featuring the former lead guitarist and vocalist Salvatore Costa of rock band My Darkest Days. They’ve recently introduced their debut single “Hounds,” the opening track of their first EP release, A-Side (SonicAluzion). Founded by Costa, who has been described as having one of the most powerful and unique vocal timbres in music, “Hounds” combines ‘80s style funky drums, synths and pure fun.
Bicoastal comedian Barry Rothbart is capping off a busy couple of years with his debut album, Streets of Fire. After being named one of Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch in 2013,” he also appeared alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street later that year. Rothbart made his late night television debut on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, followed by appearances on Conan, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and Adam Devine’s House Party. On his release from ASpecialThing Records, Rothbart smoothly delivers the funny as he ponders the weird confidence of little kids, points out that all advice sounds exactly the same, wishes Liam Neeson was his dad and recounts his adventures in making a fool of himself at the Burger King drive-thru. His loose, improvisational crowd work is a rarity on any comedy album and establishes him as a unique new voice in the genre. Be sure to keep your ears open for the delightfully bizarre bonus track. Read More →
Zella Day is an up-and-coming indie pop artist based out of Los Angeles who has been described as the “happier version of Lana Del Rey.” She came to attention in 2011 with her haunting, stripped-back cover of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” which lead her to playing six shows at SXSW this year. With influences ranging from Mason Jennings, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, old western films and her Arizona mountain town upbringing; her eponymous debut EP showcases just that – with the addition of drum machines and electronics.
At only 18-years-old Swedish-born Didrick is a triple threat: DJ, producer and multi-instrumentalist. He’s done official remixes for Cazzette and Avicii & Nicky Romero, but he is also well known for remixing 78 tracks released by Monstercat Records into a single song, performed live. The track features a string quartet, swingin’ horns and a guitar solo even Slash would love. He’s definitely not your average electro house banger. If you breathe, sleep and eat EDM; Didrick should be your next course.
Self-proclaimed “perma-teenage mermaids,” buzzing two girl, two guy Orange County band The Aquadolls are currently a hot item in the Burger Records scene. They combine highly energetic garage pop melodies with sixties surf-guitar riffs in the vein of Shannon & The Clams, Best Coast and Black Lips. Wade into tracks like “Wander” and “We Are Free” off their upcoming album Stoked On You and get stoked for sunny Southern Californian sounds this winter. Read More →